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Social media, not a strategy or a tactic…a communication channel

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“We want to be in social media.”

Does this phrase sound familiar? Is it written into your
marketing plans for 2010? We hear this phrase more and more from various
companies looking to differentiate themselves from their competition and reach
their target audience.

Our message to these companies is simple: this should not be
your strategy or tactic to reach your target audiences. That’s right, if your
marketing plans include social media as a strategy, take it out.

Social media and all of the sites that fall into this
category are communication channels, not tactics. Social media, as defined by
Wikipedia are, “Internet-based tools used for sharing and discussing
information among people.” This means that social media is anything that allows
people to interact (via comments, ratings, photos, video, etc.) online. Some
sites include YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook.

Depending on the goals of your organization, social media
may or may not be applicable in order to share your story. People are changing
the way they connect and interact with people. It is changing the way people receive
their news and how they filter it.

If you want to incorporate social media into your marketing plans
use it the way these tools were made to be used, for interaction. YouTube wasn’t built for commercial
content, Facebook wasn’t built as an external-facing billboard; they were all
developed for users to share information and communicate. Many social media
sites didn’t even have revenue models built in behind them when they started; they
were built for the user and the money came second.

There’s no reason companies can’t be involved in this space.
After all, people are seeking out your product or service, so why not use the channels they are
participating in? Just make sure you do it right by sharing relevant content
and interaction!

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